Ghost of a Tale – Guide
Here’s the release trailer:
So far the feedback is overwhelmingly great, with about 96% of positive reviews on Steam!
Speaking of reviews, we got our first official one! It’s on French site Gamekult and it’s an 8 out of 10! Let’s hope this marks the beginning of a good trend.
And now it’s back to listening to players’ feedback and fixing (hopefully few) bugs. Oh, and catching a little sleep too. 🙂
I’ll see you in the next update, as I leave you with one last screenshot taken by Nautilus (using the game’s photo mode)…
Welcome everyone to what is one of the last pre-release updates for Ghost of a Tale!
Before we start, you’ll notice in this update I sprinkled quite a few more screenshots than usual (most of which were created by the awesome Nautilus using the photo mode included in the game). Because now is the time to not only spread the word about Ghost of a Tale, but also SHOW that this little game is actually worth their attention!! 🙂
So here it is, after almost five years of learning how to create a game from scratch: the final version of Ghost of a Tale will be released for Windows PC on the 13th of March.
It will be available for download on Steam, GOG and Humble Bundle at the price of $24.99. There are no plans for physical release yet (although we would love to eventually have one).
(Note that the game will remain at $19.99 for the next two weeks, until it’s out of early access)
The release date for the consoles version (Xbox One (X?) and PS4) is not yet set because I want to make sure we address everything before we start entering the “certification dance”. I have a very poor internet connection and I can’t upload huge files back and forth as quickly as I wish.
In any case, the only thing I can say for now is the final version of the game on those consoles will come “later this year”.
Before you ask, there are no plans to release Ghost of a Tale on the Switch since it would most likely require a complete re-tooling of all the visual features and a fundamental re-authoring of most of the 3D assets.
But who knows, if the game is financially successful, maybe we’ll be able to afford hiring another studio to rebuild everything from the ground up while still maintaining the visual identity of the game…
On that note it will be very interesting to see how the upcoming adaption of Dark Souls on Switch is going to fare, both from an artistic and technical standpoint. It might teach us a thing or two.
In terms of the gameplay length for Ghost of a Tale (and keep in mind those are estimates) it should roughly take you around 8 to 10 hours if you don’t care much about the quests and story, but almost double that if you want to take your time and see (and do) everything.
The Poster Art
I’m also very happy to finally share with you the official poster art created by Jerome!
I really wanted it to evoke the animated movies from the 1980s, and I hope you’ll agree that Jerome perfectly captured that feel of mystery!
It seems to say “you’re going on a dangerous adventure as a minstrel mouse and you’ll meet interesting characters“, doesn’t it?! 😉
We went with LevelUp Translation for localizing the game and they are currently hard at work on the initial languages (French, Italian, German, Spanish, Russian and Chinese). Paul is coordinating with them (hi Damien) on top of finishing all the remaining tweaks on the dialogs, lore and quests. Which is a huge task since GoaT is has more text than many AAA games (thanks for your help, Alex!).
You see localization is tricky with Ghost of a Tale because over the years we’ve developed a consistent world with its history and rules. It’s not an overly complex one but it’s full of puns and double entendre which cannot bear a typical word-for-word translation; it is a genuine adaptation that is required in this case.
Needless to say, lots of testing is going on right now! We have brave and dedicated testers (Rhumba, Fluke, Alex…) toiling away on our forum sending bugs, which Cyrille dutifully fields and confirms before we vigorously squash them!
Additionally we’re starting a final round of testing this week, with fresh meat… err, I mean testers (hi Enzyme), which Cyrille is also going to coordinate.
I’m focused of course on fixing bugs and finishing assets and animations to make sure you don’t see too many white capsules in the final game. White capsules make lovely stand-ins for NPCs but I understand most players frown on those in a finished game… 😀
And since we’re talking about finishing assets, Jerome is practically done with all the character portraits and illustrations. Nicolas created new sounds as well (which I still need to find time to integrate in the game) and I know that Jeremiah is working on the remaining tracks.
As I was looking for more recent screenshots to share for this update I inadvertently found a stash of old ones. I thought it’d be fun to compare how the game looked like when we showed it at Gamescom a couple of years ago and how it looks like now, in the final version.
The first comparison is with an interior shot, at the start of the game (in the jail):
The second one is an exterior shot, in Dwindling Heights’ courtyard:
It’s really nice to be able to gauge the technical progress at a glance. It’s also interesting how the artistic ambitions of the game grew to closely match Unity’s evolution as a real-time 3D engine.
The next update I’ll post will probably come after the game’s released, as I expect all of us will be properly swamped until then (and probably well after), providing support and bug-fixes as needed.
Now comes the real question: will the game meet its audience?
That’s the scary part. Because we have no control over any of that.
The one thing I know is we have given it our very best. The game is truly charming, fun, and even moving at time: it is exactly what I was hoping it would be, and then some! I’m immensely proud of the work created by everyone involved.
But we understandably live in a world of big marketing machines, connected influencers and calibrated advertising campaigns. Will the gaming website juggernauts even take notice of Ghost of a Tale…?
Of course I would love for the game to be successful, because I would love to get a chance to keep working in this medium, and for us to do more, better, equipped with the experience and knowledge we acquired during that challenging journey.
Wouldn’t it be neat if enough people in the world eventually cared about a certain adventurous minstrel mouse? 🙂
Welcome to this new Ghost of a Tale update, in which I will talk about the final game (release date, price, etc…) as well as various improvements and overall progress on the game’s development (spoiler: it’s going great!). 🙂
I do wish I had time to post more development updates here but we’ve entered the final stretch to the game’s completion and I tend to not see time whizzing by. Paul is working hard on dialogs and quests and Cyrille still develops precious tools which allow me to streamline my everyday workflow. And at this point of the development the dividends pay up big time!
To start, here’s a screenshot that makes use of a new volumetric lighting asset (not yet in the early access version). But more on that later…
The final game’s release:
A couple of months back I was still hoping we would be able to release the game this year. Even though to this day I’ve refused to give out a specific date out of fear of missing it I’ve been known to say publicly “2017”.
The thing is, now that we’ve got a very clear view on the final stretch, that’s just not realistic. Well, technically the game’s content itself will be mostly done by the end of December, there’s no doubts about this.
So I guess technically you could say “Yay, game done this year!”. But that’s not the way it works. You don’t release a game as soon as you wrote the last line of code and animated the last walk cycle.
When all is said and done we’re going to need a few weeks (we estimate 4 to 6) just going through QA. That is intense testing and making sure there are no outstanding issues (whether it be in text display, animation, mechanics, quests, dialogs, etc…).
After that (well, almost in parallel) we’ll have several people working on translating the 60K+ words of the game into as many languages as we can financially afford. Which is at first: French, Italian, German, and Spanish. We will also try for Portuguese, Polish and Russian eventually (depending on how much it costs). And after that Chinese and Japanese would be great.
On that topic, some studios often go with horrendous Google translate (sometimes because of cost, sometimes because they can’t be bothered) but let me assure you that won’t be the case for Ghost of a Tale. We will make sure the translators know of context and are given the tools necessary to do a great job.
Meanwhile we will reach out to journalists and YouTubers in order to make them aware of the game’s release date (or in some cases of the game’s sheer existence). This phase includes anything marketing-related (screenshots, interviews, advertisement, etc…).
If you remember, the early access version of Ghost of a Tale was released more or less in a void. We can’t afford that for the final release; things need to be done properly in order to insure the game’s completion doesn’t go thoroughly unnoticed.
All of this amounts to roughly 8 weeks after final content is done and locked. Which is why we are aiming for a release in the beginning of March 2018.
Note that this is for the PC version. Xbox One will follow soon after that (barring any technical catastrophe). And finally the PS4 version.
(We haven’t looked yet at Xbox One X but if the Xbox One can run the game, the X won’t have any problem running it much, MUCH better!)
As I mentioned earlier I’ve very recently integrated a nice volumetric lighting asset in the game, which greatly brings out the atmosphere of mystery that I always wanted to capture.
Technically what it does is it allows for the display of light rays even when the light source is off-camera. In the screenshot below the sun is actually out of the camera’s frustum yet it casts visible volumetric rays.
At night it translates for example to a much more dramatic moonlight. Which inspired me to revisit the overall nocturnal look of the game and I think that you guys are going to like it! 🙂
What’s great is when you explore a dark wood at night and the moon rays fall through the canopy as Tilo runs through them. It just feels so nice.
Final game’s duration and details:
Some of you might wonder how long the game will last. That’s obviously difficult to say but based on the early access it should take at least 15 to 20 hours to finish. Of course it could be much longer if you want to discover all of the secrets and locations.
The final game will have roughly 60 quests, varying in terms of complexity (compared to the 30 or so in the early access). It will also have more NPCs, but let’s not spoil that right now!
The new locations to explore will more than double the area of what’s already available in the early access. Believe me, the world feels much bigger now and you will get lost without a map. 🙂
The final game will go on sale at $24.99. However, while the game remains in early access, the price will stay at $19.99. Which is a way for us of thanking you for taking a chance on an early-access game and trusting us not to fudge it up!
Finally I would like to officially welcome Jerome Jacinto to Ghost of a Tale’s (diminutive) team! Jerome is an experienced illustrator who worked on “Tooth and Tail” (where he took care of character design and key art) as well as the digital board game “Armello”.
Jerome is now creating the game’s NPC portraits, which appear during dialogs (the art in the current release is just place-holder if you hadn’t guessed!). This will make dialogs even more enjoyable than they currently are.
Here’s a gallery of some of the characters (no real spoilers as those already appear in the early access).
Of course each character will possess a wide range of poses to match their dialog and personality. Here are only a few of Gusto’s expressions:
I have to say every time Jerome finishes up a new character’s expression sheet it truly is a pleasure to peruse through all of them in anticipation of their use in the game… 🙂
Alright, so we reached the end of this update! Thanks again for taking the time to read all of it. I hope you liked it and now I’ll go back to work. As usual please don’t hesitate to leave your comments below and I’ll do my best to reply. See you in the next update!
Welcome all! Today I’m very happy because I get to talk about new content added to the early access! 🙂
Indeed we’ve opened up a new location: the Northern Slopes (along with the old armory) but we also worked a lot on the existing Far Tower area. Not only is the location much prettier to look at (thanks to many new assets) but there’s actually stuff to do there now!
Here’s a lighting test for the time-of-day system which is recorded in the new area:
We’ve added 5 new quests to the existing 28, which brings us to a tally of 33 quests available in the early access version. The new quests range from quite easy to much more involved.
Furthermore we introduce a couple of new gameplay mechanics: among which are the “brisance kegs”. Those are in effect a sort of exploding barrel/nitroglycerin. They are heavy items which Tilo can grab and move anywhere within a certain distance.
And that’s what makes them special: every time Tilo takes a step the brisance bar fills up a little until it fills up completely and as you guessed… the whole thing goes ka-boom! So better not let that happen.
But that’s not all: the brisance is sensitive to shocks so Tilo can also throw projectiles at it to blow it up at a distance.
Conversely, Tilo can light up the fuse of the brisance kegs (using his candlestick or fire steel) to create a delayed explosion. Which will prove very handy throughout the rest of the game, against some enemies and also as a way to affect the environment.
In this update we have added new shortcuts for you to discover, making traveling from one part of Dwindling Heights to another even more enjoyable.
Besides the usual helping of bug fixes you’ll also find long-time requested features like a brightness slider, an LOD slider (for people with powerful machine who just want the game to look as good as possible) and a way to sort the inventory clothing items by costume and/or body parts.
And by the way just to give you some hints: the new quests can be accessed by talking to Faustus, visiting the garden and exploring the far tower area (mind your steps).
The guards now have new attack sounds (coupled with camera shakes when Tilo gets hit) so they overall feel more threatening. Some of them now wear greaves, which means that they won’t slip down on a grease jar anymore.
You can think of it as a rock/paper/scissors situation: some guards wear a helmet so you can’t knock them down with a bottle but they could slip and fall on a grease jar, while some others have no head protection but they wear greaves, etc… So you have to choose the right tool for the right situation.
The map system has also been improved in that the markers that appear on it now visually indicate if the items they refer to are located above or below Tilo’s current position.
Story-wise you can also pick up more roses in the world, which in turn will let you learn more about Tilo and Merra’s story.
Anyway there are too many things to mention here so I encourage you to read the detailed release notes.
With this update we are nearing the 60% of publicly available content. One thing to keep in mind about the whole process is we only publish things when they are ready. In other words out of the remaining 40% about half is already created and the other half is well on the way. Of course for now the “non-public” content is only reachable by us developers and alpha testers. But boy do we have some beautiful things in store for you! 🙂
To illustrate this point, here’s a screenshot of Tilo exploring the catacombs (which are not open to the public yet)…
Skappbeetles flown the coop? Here’s some help to round up the pesky little critters.
Other Ghost of a Tale Guides:
After the skappbeetles have escaped, make your way back down from Silas. Coming down from the war room, take a left onto the battlements and avoid the guard to find the skapp scurrying about on the floor.
Gallery Roof Beams
From the ramparts, jump over the side of the battlements onto the tiled roof and head through the door. Make your way along the beams of the roof all the way to the far end to grab the skappbeetle.
Alternatively, if you’ve already lowered the ladder before leading to the beam, you can just climb that and the skappbeetle is right there.
Overhanging Roof Directly Above Rolo
This skapp is on the roof directly above Rolo. Jump to the roof from the wooden beam that you push to form a platform in the room with the collapsed roof.
Next to the Hidden Chest Above the Collapsed Roof
This skappie is in a hidden area at the top of the room with the collapsed roof. Make your way into the fort above where Rolo is, and into the room with the collapsed roof.
Push the wooden beam through the wall and use the stool to climb through the window and outside onto the beam. Jump up the wooden platforms, and make your way back inside and onto the platforms there. On the wall to your left as you come in through the window is what looks like a window covered by some bars.
Use a stick or a bottle (there’s a handy stick near where the rose is hidden up here) and throw it at the bars to make them swing down and form a ladder. Cliimb up the ladder and through the window to find the skappbeetle.
This is the same location as the chest with the ranger boots.
West Courtyard Door
Across the courtyard from Rolo, head through the wooden door to the right of the long set of steps and pick the little fella off the floor.
East Courtyard Steps Corridor
In the east courtyard (across from Gusto and Fatale’s cell), head up the long set of steps. The skappbeetle scurries around the corridor there.
Stables Next to the East Gate Portcullis
This one is just scurrying about on the floor of the stables that are directly next to the main gate.